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January 13, 2014

Monetizing Forums Using Big Data Analytics

The vast majority of forums are created so they can address a particular subject with likeminded individuals. Depending on the popularity of the forum there could be millions of discussions and posts covering every subject imaginable. With this many people, it should come as no surprise advertisers would want to reach this audience, but forums are notoriously defensive when it comes to placing ads in their space. Finding the right balance is key when trying to place ads in forums, because the wrong approach can disrupt or even destroy the community, making it of little worth to advertisers and potentially driving customers away from the product forever.

With one in five Americans or 60 million people using forums to discuss and recommend products, there is a great body of potential customers. But like we mentioned previously they resent intrusive display ads, especially when it is irrelevant to what is being discussed.

ProBoards, the largest host of free forums with 3.6 million forums and 22 million users, is introducing a new way in which forum creators can monetize their space without driving away their users.

In a partnership with VigLink, an automated native advertising company backed by Google (News - Alert) Ventures, ProBoards administrators will be able to provide native content monetization platform that is built on the only real-time and advertiser auction for link traffic on the Internet.

The VigLink technology is able to analyze billions of online user interaction by leveraging a combination of big data analytics and natural-language algorithms, and automatically insert advertising links that are very relevant to end users. By placing an ad of a product mentioned in the forum, users will be able to link to a provider of a product. Advertisers and publishers can benefit by earning more revenue without alienating users. The entire process is automated and doesn't require any additional investment or work from the forum publishers, who earn from each link on the forum.

With VigLink, hyperlinks become intelligent and not just an ad placed on a page with marginal data. Detailed analytics helps forum admins understand the threads and posts that are delivering the highest returns so they can be kept alive longer. The information can be used to identify products the community is interested in and dedicated threads can be created to address those interests.

VigLink has more than 30,000 merchants processing billions of page views and over five hundred million clicks every month. This translates to maximized earnings for tens of thousands of publishers.

"We’re excited to extend the earning power of VigLink Insert to the millions of ProBoards consumer and business customers. This is truly native advertising that actually adds value to user-generated content without degrading the experience or requiring any work on the part of ProBoards customers,” said Oliver Roup, Founder and CEO of VigLink.

Different sets of technologies are making it possible to connect brands and online communities with greater ease than ever before, but as with all things new it is important to implement the technology without abusing the end user and sacrificing your brand in the process. The method and platform an organization chooses to advertise its products and services on must take this into consideration to ensure long term customer retention.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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